Food

Chef Aaron Silverman In Talks To Take Over Capitol Hill Bayou Bakery

The cafe portion of Pineapple and Pearls would move and expand.

Bayou Bakery currently occupies this historical carriage house near Eastern Market. Photo by Jessica Sidman.

Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery will close its Capitol Hill location after two years, and Rose’s Luxury and Pineapple and Pearls chef and owner Aaron Silverman has signed a letter of intent to assume its lease.

Bayou Bakery opened in the historical carriage house near Eastern Market in May of 2015, serving New Orleans cafe fare from breakfast through the early evening. “Without having a full-service dinner restaurant, which is not the brand of Bayou Bakery, the concept is not suited for this space,” owner David Guas says in a written statement. Although the location does not yet have a closing date, it will likely be sometime within the next month or two. The Arlington outpost of Bayou Bakery will remain open.

Guas approached Silverman about taking over the converted carriage house, which was once used by the nearby naval hospital for horse-drawn ambulances. Silverman is still negotiating a lease  with the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, which leases the property from the city of DC.

Assuming all goes as planned, Silverman says he will move the daytime cafe portion of his fine dining restaurant Pineapple and Pearls to the new location and expand it. (The Barracks Row restaurant would then focus exclusively on its tasting menu.)

“The biggest complaint we have is lack of seating,” Silverman says of his three-seat cafe. “So the idea would be just to do more and better.”

Silverman is light on details at this early stage, but the new restaurant would continue to serve sandwiches, pastries, and coffee. In the evenings, it would convert into a wine bar with small plates. The place does not yet have a name.

“It’s on the corner, it’s community-driven, and it’s a place that’s open all day and into the night,” Silverman envisions.

As for Guas, it’s clear this won’t be an easy goodbye. Bayou Bakery was the first restaurant in the building’s 150-year history, and Guas’s meticulous renovation included lots of little details nodding to the property’s storied past. This May, he and his architects will receive an award for the outstanding preservation of an historic property.

“The Capitol Hill neighborhood is a great community, and it felt very much like New Orleans to me in so many ways. I have a strong love affair with the building, one with outstanding character, amazing history, and a connection to my hometown, which made it even more desirable for me to open a second eatery here,” Guas says in his statement.

“In its next life, I hope the building will be loved just as strongly as I do.”

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Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.